The developer of a knock-off NFT collection called Mutant Ape Planet has been arrested in New York and charged with defrauding investors of $2.9 million in a “rug pull scheme.”
The developer, French national Aurelien Michel, is accused of making false representations about the collection and using the funds for personal gain.
Michel allegedly admitted to the community via social media that he had perpetrated a rug pull, saying “we never intended to rug but the community went way too toxic.”
The collection, which is a knock-off of the popular Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT collection, has had 567 Ether in sales but has seen its average price and sales volume decline since it launched in January 2022.
The project has since been taken over by the community. Rug pulls, where creators of a project suddenly abandon or withdraw liquidity from the platform, were the most common type of attack in 2022, accounting for 119 incidents and $200 million in stolen funds, according to a report from DappRadar.